Prove your claim, Chaudhry tells PM

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry during an interview at his office. Picture: RAMA.

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry during an interview at his office. Picture: RAMA.

FIJI Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has challenged Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to prove his claim that the Ghai draft constitution was racist.

Mr Chaudhry said Mr Bainimarama should tell the people in precise terms just what he saw as racist there.

“Or else he should stop trying to misinform people with such lies. Regrettably, the PM has made it a habit to hurl accusations at his critics without providing any evidence to support his claims,” he claimed.

“The trashed Ghai constitution was a good charter for Fiji, even better than the 1997 Constitution because it had recommended removal of communal voting which was highly divisive.

“The draft also had the support of an overwhelming number of Fijian people including that of all opposition political parties,” Mr Chaudhry claimed.

He said the Ghai draft constitution upheld the principles of good governance, providing for an open, transparent and accountable government.

“It provided a code of conduct for holders of high public office, freedom of information legislation and the separation of powers between the various arms of government. “None of these provisions for good governance are contained in the imposed 2013 Constitution.

“Most importantly, the Ghai draft was trashed because of its immunity provisions. Under a Section for Reconciliation and Allegiance, all persons who were complicit in overthrowing a legitimate government had to renounce such actions and take an oath to bear true allegiance to the country and to uphold the Constitution of the land.”

Speaking at a FijiFirst family fun day in Labasa over the weekend, Mr Bainimarama said the Ghai draft constitution had to be burnt because its contents were rife with racial discrimination.

He claimed that Mr Ghai wanted to consult with foreigners on Fiji’s constitution.